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Document Layout and Graphic Design
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  1. Document Layout and Graphic Design • Proposals use graphics to be efficient and appealing • pictures, maps, diagrams, etc can communicate information very appealingly (responds to common fears) • tables, charts, graphs, etc can communicate information very clearly (saves reviewers effort) • Graphics and useful design can show professionalism • documents with graphics often look more professional • useful layout & design helps quick scanning and evaluation • sophisticated design can show that lots of effort went into tailoring a proposal to a specific RFP • it CAN show that you think your client’s needs are important

  2. REMEMBER these guidelines: • Pictures are worth a thousand words IF: • every graphic has a precise goal • every graphic has a clear title and context • You need to OVERdefine EVERY picture and graphic ! • Formatting is effective IF: • each formatting choice is clearly useful for the audience • each formatting choice is well executed • Formatting inconsistencies ARE TYPOS !

  3. graphics must haveVERY PRECISE GOALS • EVERY graphic should communicate: • some very specific and very precise information • a very clear feeling or emotion • OR, a combination of BOTH these two things BRAINSTORM: What are some graphics that you could include in the “mowing proposal” document, and what would each accomplish?

  4. graphics must haveCLEAR TITLES and CONTEXTS • “Clear Context” means: • describe what the graphic will accomplish before it appears in the document (intro with a sentence) • put your idea into the reader’s mind BEFORE they see the picture or graphic (control their thoughts) “Clear Title” means: • EVERY graphic needs a descriptive title that is clear to the audience (in ADDITION to an intro sentence, etc) • EVERY title should be consistent (numbering, wording, and formatting cannot vary for no reason)

  5. graphics should beHYPNO-tic & SUB-textual • After studying the section of Route 24 that passes through your town, we discovered that there are a lot of obstacles (trees, signs, etc) close to the roadway. Fortunately, we have just the equipment to deal with these issues. Here is a photo of the state-of-the-art industrial mowing equipment that we use to maintain highway medians that have lots of tricky obstacles: • Fig 4: Our State-Of-The-Art Industrial Mowing Equipment In Action • We use two main blah blah blah blah blah . . . • Tell the reader what the picture shows, give the picture, and then tell the reader AGAIN what the picture just showed!

  6. formatting must be CLEARLY USEFUL FOR THE AUDIENCE • DO NOT make formatting choices based on what YOU think is neat-o. • The layout, design, fonts, margins, section and page breaks, etc should ALL have a clear purpose for the audience. • BRAINSTORM: • What are some formatting choices that could be useful for the “mowing proposal” audience (town gov’t officials)?

  7. formatting must beWELL EXECUTED & PRACTICAL • DO NOT use complicated formatting just because you can. • REALIZE that a super-spiffy binding or expensive glossy paper will only make typos EVEN MORE noticeable. • REALIZE that technical documents ARE USED by the audience. This often includes: • photocopying • transcribing • lots of rough handling • distribution to many different people • Make sure the document can be ripped apart EASILY (happens often in ppsl evaluations) and can survive rough handling and photocopying.